By on November 30, 2012

“Who’s next?” This is the number one topic at the Los Angeles auto show. After Hyundai had to restate its MPG numbers and pay compensation to customers, executives and analysts are convinced that more automakers may have to do the same, reports the well-connected Reuters reporter Bernie Woodall from the back-rooms and cocktail parties in LA.

“I think we might see more of this,” said Jake Fisher, the head of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. “There are other vehicles that don’t really stack up to the EPA estimates.”

Auto executives at Nissan, GM , Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Chrysler, told Woodall they are confident that their mileage claims are true.

So what do you guess? Who’s next?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

47 Comments on “Hyundai Fuel Fiasco: Whose Shoe Will Drop Next?...”


  • avatar
    esager

    New (2012/2013) Subaru Impreza – many on NASIOC are reporting far less than EPA estimates…concerns and complaints that are backed up by a simple peruse of Fuelly.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    One of the automakers not owned by FIAT or with the initials “G.M.” if I had to make a guess.

  • avatar
    bkmurph

    *Whose Shoe

  • avatar
    Automusings

    With the way Wolfsburg does their fuel economy testing, stripping weight as much as they can and so on, I would not be surprised if they were next. And how about promoting a super low CO2 value with a car that will never actually exist as a commercial offer or that 3 people will ever buy?

  • avatar
    mulled whine

    I have been really impressed with the ford c max, hybrid, which is supposed to do 47/47 mpg. Unfortunately, I haven’t read a test that has got anything close to those numbers yet.

    I’m wondering if the whole method of computing EPA mpg statistics is a flawed process, in addition to the manufacturers gaming it somewhat.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      I did an extended test drive with one of those. The only way I got 47 (and I think I got 50 mpg over a lengthy stretch) was city/suburban surface street driving where I respected the idea of 10 second 0-60, which allows it to retain the all-electric operation well through 40 mpg. I had to also plan the stops a little more to get about 98% recovery (by their meter) on the regenerative brakes.

      The vehicle was too much fun with the electric torque all off the line, and I drove it considerably more vigorously than that, as well as many a jack-rabbit start and stop, and I got about 38 when driving like I’d normally drive it and about 25% on the braking.

      The benefit of the cartoon growing/whithering plant was that, when I really wanted to try to hit the number, it provided the feedback to hit or surpass it, but I wasn’t inclined to naturally drive that way.

    • 0 avatar
      b787

      Maybe it is flawed, but it is still much better than European system. Because the test cycle is so unrealistic, it is pretty much impossible to achieve claimed figures in mixed driving. Compared to EPA, NEDC mileage numbers are usually about 20% higher for the identical vehicle, so I guess you can imagine nobody in Europe takes official figures seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      It’s not the EPA test methodology that is flawed. It is the whole idea of letting the manufacturers SELF TEST and SELF REPORT that is flawed. Ford is just lying through their teeth. Car and Driver got 32mpg when the tested teh C-Max. They got 35mpg when they tested the Prius V.
      Regular drivers on Fuelly.com are only seeing ~40mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Brian P

        The self-testing and self-reporting was an issue for Hyundai, but the issue with Ford hybrids (and to be honest, Chevrolet Equinox) is that the prescribed test procedure is far gentler than the normal driver actually drives. It allows the Ford hybrids to use all-electric far more than a normal driver would, and it allows the Equinox’s automatic transmission to upshift to 6th gear really early (far earlier than it would with a normal driver driving).

        The “fudge factor” that has been applied since 2008 doesn’t really address this type of thing.

        On the other hand, the EPA test procedure is pessimistic for diesels. Take a look at the “Your MPG” reports on fueleconomy dot gov for any VW TDI. Doesn’t matter model or year.

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        35 for a V? I’ve never seen one that low. You have to be near sadistic in throttle to achieve that.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    “Auto executives at Nissan, GM , Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Chrysler, told Woodall they are confident that their mileage claims are true.”

    We can certainly believe these “honest individuals/companies,” can’t we?

    Of course this statement; as opposed to saying: they are all gaming the f’d up EPA system, which allows automakers to select the best ONE car out of a thousand, to do the test themselves, to state the MPG themselves, and use that solitary MPG on many of their other vehicles optioned with the same powertrain, worse aero, and worse MPG options.

    And we’re paying tax money for this EPA method.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      All of the last 5 cars we have owned got or are getting right around the (revised downwards) EPA ratings in sensible driving. This is everything from a Fiat 500 to a Mustang 5.0. I’d say the system works pretty well for that comparatively paltry cost to taxpayers. And thanks to Fuelly and armies of litigators, companies are finding that there is nowhere for them to hide if they submit unrealistic numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “EPA system, which allows automakers to select the best ONE car out of a thousand … and use that solitary MPG on many of their other vehicles optioned with the same powertrain, worse aero, and worse MPG options”

      It doesn’t work that way. Aero and gearing options that affect treadmill mileage are tested individually and the published result is a weighted average based on production mix.

      That’s why dealers are forced to stock so many gotcha configurations like trucks with 3.08 gears and you can’t have reasonably wide or sticky rubber without buying an expensive (and thus low take rate) sport trim or package.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        You’ve really sort of explained the exact automaker/EPA scam I did, from a different direction.

        Aero and gearing cars, yes, they take the best one of those out of a thousand. So are you saying that’s okay?

        How about 25.51 MPG rounded up to 26? Or the dealer installed things to save weight or aero? Spare tires anyone?

        The weighted average based on production mix can certainly be changed/scammed. That’s a prediction, and we know how good automakers are at predictions. There are outs and loopholes, too.

        The cars people want to buy (desirable gearing and tires) are precisely those cars that are the most deceptive for MPG. Since the automaker knows the various degridations to MPG, why not put in on the sticker? Why not be honest about it, or have an honesty safety margin? Toner doesn’t cost that much, does it?

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      “And we’re paying tax money for this EPA method”

      No you are not. If the companies are doing the test themselves then you aren’t paying any tax money to support it. Now if you want the EPA to do all the testing (which I think is the best answer), then the EPA would need to spend some extra money to do that.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        The EPA does do fuel economy testing at times, how much I’m not sure. They certainly will choose to audit an automaker’s claims, but you can see by this Hyundai case, their criteria on doing that doesn’t work well enough. (The ads braying about 40MPG is a hint to verify their claims, if I’ve ever hear one.)

        On taxpayer cost, the EPA created a 1944 page document for the 2025 fuel economy regulations. 1944 pages! Any idea of the people and meetings in government needed to generate that? Are we to believe it will work any better than those of the last 30 years? Do you think it was a small department, or an efficient department, that created that monster?

        Excessive, convoluted, scam-friendly, and often with poor results, 1944 pages.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    This is all political. The Obama administration will be filing charges against any non-UAW automaker who is taking market share from the domestic nameplates. It is not hard to drum up fake charges for 1 or 2 MPG since I would bet that is within the standard error of the test. However, the domestic automakers will continue to get away with outrageous MPG claims.

    Here is my favorite link. Enjoy.

    autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121029/OEM06/310299993/
    so-wheres-the-47-mpg-on-my-c-max

    • 0 avatar
      Aquineas

      What a crock of bull. Politics has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not test results are independently reproducible. Next you’ll be claiming that the Obama administration sends a CNN representative to sit on the hood of the cars made by non-union car companies. Neanderthal in its conception.

    • 0 avatar
      DrunkenDonuts

      Blaming Obama on the internet has surpassed Godwin’s Law. I’m not sure how, but there’s got to be a way to get Nazis into this conversation. And I’m not sure where I put my tin foil hat..

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This is nothing new, my 98 Corolla was supposed to get 33 mpg on the highway with its 3 speed auto, never managed anything close to that, at LEGAL posted speeds, if I had done maybe 45 mph I could have achieved it, but that isn’t practical, safe nor legal.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    just looked up the EPA numbers and they have indeed dropped the highway numbers to 30 and overall 26, I get 28/29 in mixed driving, but when I have gone on the highway at legal posted speeds, it drops to about 24 mpg’s still 6 mpg’s less than the reported number.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Dude, if you’re getting 24 mpg out of a Corolla at steady 65-70 mph, you’re doing something wrong. Still running original plugs or air filter? Seriously, there’s a problem somewhere. I hope you’re able to find it.

      Now, if you’re getting 24 mpg hooning the bejeezus out of that old beater, then more power to ya!

      • 0 avatar
        Type57SC

        I agree. I used to get 28 mpg in a BMW 540 at 70 mph. A corolla should be topping 30 at legal limit speeds

      • 0 avatar

        24 seems too low, but topping 30 might not be doable with a three-speed automatic. At highway speeds the engine is revving too high to be efficient. My Mazda Protege5 with a five-speed manual and short gearing struggles to top 28 on the highway for the same reason. I’ve heard that at a steady 55 fuel economy is much better…

  • avatar
    tikki50

    Figures Hyundai would want to bring everyone else down with them. HAHA, your ship is sinking but make sure everyone stays on board, LOL. How despicable own up to your lies and look in the dam mirror for your problems quit pointing fingers ya babies.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My 2008 3900 Impala gets very close to it’s 18/28 MPG ratings. So does dads 2008 LS with the 3500 at 18/29. My buddies 2011 Elantra is about 4 MPG lower than the highway rating unless your going under 60 MPH. Then it gets about 37-38 on the open road. I would say that is an issue and warrants new mileage ratings. Ironically that same friend that owns the 2011 Elantra has a neighbor with a 2011 Sonata with the base 2.4 and he struggles to get more than 33 on the open road which is 2 less than the rating. And his Sonata now has over 20K miles on the clock and this elderly gentleman drives anything but fast.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I think many manufacturers are pretty loose with their mileage claims. I have a heavy foot so my mileage is not near what EPA rates it at. Maybe they need to test under more aggressive driving conditions. Second on the UAW and Obama using the mileage as a witch hunt for non UAW manufacturers. These slime balls/lowlifes will stop at nothing to keep them from misleading the American consumer while trying to look like good guys.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Ford.

    They are as bad if not (far) worse than Hyundai. Ecoboost is a complete joke. And Ford is already doing damage control by altering the way they state fuel economy in their ads. No longer are they using raw numbers, they are going to mislead people by saying “our appliances get double the mileage of a normal family sedan” or some nonsense like that.

    Ford is lucky though because unlike Hyundai, they have all of the auto news sites shilling for them just like the MSM does with Obama.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Yup. The Ford C-Max is the worst of the cheaters. Hyundai may have fudged teh numbers by 2mpg. The Ford C-Max is overrated by a whopping 7mpg!
      The EPA needs to put some teeth into their rules.

      BTW- the election is over- quit dragging your politics into every discussion.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Just more dancing around the elephant in the room which is that a treadmill acceleration run at an average of 48 mph has very little correlation to driving on an actual highway.

    The arbitrary correction figures the EPA applies to make that test result approximately match real driving only worked for their idea of an average car in 2007. That average was off for a lot of cars in 2007 and it’s even further off in 2012.

    Running 0.27 CD cars and 0.37 CD trucks through the same low speed test and then applying the same correction factor to simulate highway speeds doesn’t work. Never has, never will.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I think Ford made a mistake going after the Prius v with their C-max Hybrid commercials.

    Data:
    http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/c-max/2013
    http://www.fuelly.com/car/toyota/prius%20v/2012

    C-max rated at 47/47/47. Prius v rated at 44/40/42. The C-max, while not a fully populated bell curve, on average is only seeing 38.5mpg. The Prius v is seeing, on average, just over 42mpg. To me, it makes sense. The much heavier, more powerful, less aerodyanmic (drag coef. and frontal area), wider tire equiped C-max should generally take more energy to move from one point to another. I think the larger battery with higher electric only speeds allow the C-max to front load the very short EPA tests. I’m not certain if it is intentionally “teaching to the test”, but customers don’t care how you got to those numbers; they want the true numbers, especially when it will cost them [marginally] more money to operate than they expected. Hybrid buyers are paying a premium for low operating costs.

    The other reason I think the C-max will be in the crosshairs is the fact that most cars can rely on Your Mileage May Vary thanks to a higher highway number and a lower city number. People rarely drive all city or all highway, so a number in between is somewhat expected. With ratings of 47 across the board, there is no reason to expect that you wouldn’t get 47 mpg while driving like a sane person.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      A lot of people already mentioned Ford. Another big name missing on that list is BMW. Their 2012 328i had already been caught by the EPA. They revised the numbers on that one car. But they didn’t lower the number on the larger 335i (rated at 23/33/26- same as the revised 328i rating despite 1000cc more displacement and 60+ more horsepower), nor did they change the numbers on the X1, which is a taller CUV that uses the exact same engine/trans as the 328i. The X1 is rated at an improbable 24/34/28.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      Also the C-max is more prius sized than prius V sized. good luck getting three car seats in the back row of a c-max

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      over at the cleanmpg.com forum members have been testing the C-Max.. apparently as long as you keep it below 62mph then you will get the numbers and better. The electric motor can help up to that speed, after that you are on the gas engine.. Ford designed it so the C-Max could depend heavily on the electric motors during the test cycles.

      Also dont expect to get those number in winter and even less if your State has a special blend for winter gasoline.

  • avatar
    crm114

    Just get rid of the whole system and let people read Consumer Reports or whatever.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I was going to say Ford but then I realized that they actually have economy trim levels, which clearly exist solely for marketing purposes. Since everyone does this with mystery trims for base prices and doesn’t get sued I can’t get too riled up about it. Hyundai was clearly fudging their numbers, and to such an extent that someone internally should have asked “how the hell are these claims possible?” I bet if you perused their ad agencies emails you’d find plenty of questions along those lines, at least amongst the product dept.

    Interesting to see BMW nominated above. I don’t doubt it, I just never even look at stated mileage for premium brands (if you need to ask…).

  • avatar
    redav

    Personally, I would like to see the plot of mpg vs steady-state speed.

    Of course, that’s not the whole story (but that requires more esoteric details like fuel conversion efficiency as a function of engine speed & load + gear ratios).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The EPA estimates for my 2012 Impala LTZ is 18 city, 30 hwy. I don’t recall combined mpg, but I average between 26.5 – 28 combined, even if most of my driving is highway.

    I suppose those 3.6L 300 horses require more “feeding” than my old 2004 Impala with the 3.4L, but truth be told, as we sold our third vehicle, which I used for in-town driving, the last time I filled the ’04 before we sold it, my mpg avg. dropped to about 28.5 vs. 31-32 mpg.

    We haven’t taken a road trip in the 2012 yet, so I don’t know what the true hwy. mileage will be.

    Overall, GM’s estimates appear pretty accurate, but I drive with a fairly light foot, as my long commute eats dollars and I’m not happy about that because I hate wasting my money on gas due to the fact I’m cheap!

    I love the car, however out-dated it may be, but it’s what I wanted, so I pay the “penalty”.

    I’m sure my next ride will have some sort of hybrid/cold fusion-type propulsion.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India